My Revelation About Quick and Easy Sewing Patterns

Sometimes my imagination gets me in trouble. I have fantasies about all the sewing I want to do for gifts, yet I forget about one key constraint: time. But I had a light-bulb moment recently: the solution to my problem is easy sewing patterns. 

A quick gift idea for little ones. (Tweedie
Owl Softie by Amy Struckmeyer, Stitch
Winter 2012)


I don't have to spend hours upon hours making crib quilts for every expectant-mother friend. It sounds like a simple, obvious idea, but it's one I'm still wrapping my head around. How can I not make crib quilts for all my friends' new babies?

The reality is, I haven't made quilts for every new baby born in the last few years, and I feel bad about that. Some of those friends are really good friends who should have been given a baby quilt.

But I'm done feeling guilty, and I'm done with my ideas of grandeur about all the baby quilts that are going to magically fly off my feed dogs. Because life gets in the way, and that's ok.

Instead, I'm simplifying by using quick and easy sewing patterns. Move over, crib quilts, I've got some new go-tos: Baby bibs! Blocks! Burp cloths! Softies! All are projects I can easily complete one or more of in an afternoon.

I feel liberated, because suddenly my gift giving to-do list doesn't seem so overwhelming. I'm excited by the idea of spending an hour or two sewing, and finishing projects in one sitting.

Keep your sewing quick and easy, and your sanity will thank you. Any handmade gift, even if it took one hour to make, is stitched with a special kind of love the recipient will appreciate.

Are you looking for some quick and easy sewing patterns? The Sew Daily Shop has plenty to peruse.

Do you tend to tackle large projects when sewing gifts, or have you figured out that keeping it simple is the way to go? I can't wait to hear. 


Other sewing topics you may enjoy:


Easy Sewing Projects, For Children & Baby
Abby Kaufman

About Abby Kaufman

Abby Kaufman is assistant editor of Stitch magazine. When she's not scoping out new fabrics for her collection, Abby enjoys outdoor activities, and spending time with her husband and two dogs. 

10 thoughts on “My Revelation About Quick and Easy Sewing Patterns

  1. I’m kind of known for tote bags, simple purses, and wallets that I can easily make in an afternoon. Being sure to put the batting between the outside and the lining is key to making them look professional, I think. I’ve just started making baby quilts with a local group for charity and I really enjoy that, too.

  2. I totally agree with you about quick and easy projects for baby gifts, in fact I had the same problem that you mention, wanting to make a quilt for every baby in my circle of family and friends – and feeling overwhelmed! Your idea of smaller projects is great, too, but I came up with a whole bunch of shortcuts, and now I can stitch a baby quilt in an hour and a half – I’ve stitched up 5 in one day! OK, I admit this doesn’t include shopping for fabric, and it doesn’t cutting either, just the stitching part – but that DOES include piecing, quilting and binding. Once I made one in an evening on short notice, and shipped it out the next morning. Recipients are usually as impressed as if I’d hand stitched a Baltimore Album quilt, LOL! (At least the ones who don’t quilt, are!) But my secrets are out, I disclosed them in my book “More 90-MInute Quilts”! ( if you want a review copy, Abby, just let me know.)

  3. Taggies are my standby when a baby quilt is not a realistic expectation in my limited time. I can add tags to any small item and babies love them. I have even been known to add tags to an easy quilt block pattern which I make with scraps. It is the perfect size for use in the car. Add a children’s book and you have a small and economical gift.

  4. I stopped giving baby gifts, hand made or purchased, many years ago. With kids and working, I could not extend myself any further. Nine grandchildren later, sticker shock has encouraged me to sew (or knit or embroider or paint (I am an artist)) for the G’kids for Birthdays and Christmas. Currently, I have been sewing doll clothes, but the weeks before Christmas, it will be fleece bootee slipper making time. While I do not necessarily use it exclusively, I find hand sewing works rather well. It is easier to handle the small pieces, I can take the project with me, and it can be rather meditative at the end of a long, busy day.

    I like easy patterns, but have found that there are few “quick and easy” projects! There is always something to slow down the process!

  5. Dear Abby,
    You are so right about what you have realized in gifting. I get bogged down in my promises to make baby blankets. It’s like a knee-jerk reaction with me. The minute I hear a baby is due, I react with ” I could make them a baby blanket.”. I love gift giving, but I have to curb the impulse.

  6. I so identify with the grandeur plans and no time. Not only that, but when it is something with a more complicated pattern I tend to put it off because of the complicated aspect. When I stick to the simple patterns my recipients are none the wiser if they are non-sewers (and sometimes even when they are) and I don’t get in a state when things don’t go quite as they should. I do machine embroidery and now find that my favourite gifts are in the hoop designs which are the most gratifying embroideries I do because they come right out of the hoop finished!!!

  7. I have sewed for 40 years, and yet I still have the same problem: if I put something down long enough, or I get delayed…it goes in a pile and never gets finished. I procrastinate. I know, I know…shame on me. Like you said, I have found that the smaller, simpler items – scarves, pillows, aprons – that I can finish in one day work so much better for me. However, I haven’t eliminated larger pieces, since I sew Renaissance clothing, but when I am not obligated to do something, I fare much better when I have instant gratification. Also, before I start on a costume, I make a little something to get me primed, if I have not sewed in awhile. Love your column!

  8. I know, I am a procrastinator too. Which I describe sometimes as being “deadline-driven.” I have that pile too of things I start and never go back to! I’m trying to get better at this…

  9. Sometimes I just ask the recipient what they might like and even ask them to provide the fabric (that way it’s really what they want)…one of my friends is getting an apron for Christmas and she provided fabric that she fell in love with that I never would have chosen. Earlier this year I made her a purse from her design with fabric she found while shopping. And I’ll eventually use the scraps for some home dec items, so she can see her fabrics every day. Coordinated kitchen items (placemats, table runners, tea cozys, hot pads and decorative hand towels) can be good gifts also.